Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    [Contact Editions]. Gertrude Beasley. My First Thirty Years. [Paris: 1925]. First edition.

    More Information:

    [Texana]. Gertrude Beasley. My First Thirty Years. [Paris: Contact Editions, 1925]. First edition of this rare and controversial book, and the only book by its mysterious author. Small octavo. [vi], [324], [2, blank] pages. First published edition of the author's only book (only preceded by her graduate thesis), a rare and unvarnished look at her childhood in Abilene, TX. Publisher's original printed wrappers. Lacking the publisher's sticker on the verso of the title-leaf, often found. Spine very lightly toned, minor edgewear. A bright, fine copy of this rare and fragile item, with the bookplate of John K. Martin on the rear pastedown. The author has been the main character in a Texas literary mystery - "Whatever Happened to Gertrude Beasley?" Beasley, who graduated Simmons College in Abilene in 1914, was a teacher and journalist, traveling the world, and wrote her controversial autobiography in Paris in 1925. The frank accounts of sexual abuse and violence caused the book to be banned in England (many copies were destroyed by Scotland Yard), despite H. L. Mencken giving it a positive review ("the first genuinely realistic picture of the Southern poor white trash.") Even though it wasn't banned in the United States, most copies were destroyed by U. S. Customs, and the few that made it to the shelves in Texas were reportedly removed by the Texas Rangers (she disparaged several prominent Texans in her book). In 1928, she vanished without a trace; several people, including Larry McMurtry, Don Graham, and Bert Almon, have tried to find what happened to her, with no avail - they've written about her, but weren't able to find her. However, in recent years, it has been discovered that she had been committed to a mental facility in Suffolk County, New York. Apparently, she had died of pancreatic cancer in 1955. Her family members maintained that she wasn't mentally ill, but was committed to the facility by William Randolph Hearst, for whom she worked as a journalist (her death certificate also stated she suffered from dementia and paranoia). Was she mentally ill, or the victim of a conspiracy? Perhaps mystery will always surround the fate of Gertrude Beasley.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    March, 2018
    7th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 414

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $250,000 (minimum $19), plus 20% of any amount between $250,000 and $2,500,000, plus 12% of any amount over $2,500,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)
    Track Item

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 November 15 Vintage Guitars & Musical Instruments Musical Instruments Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    We had a wonderful time in New York during the October 2013 Historical Manuscripts auction that featured my mother’s papers collected during her tenure as Martin Luther King, Jr.’s secretary. In fact, the entire experience from beginning to end has been a pleasure.
    Howard Ballou,
    Brandon, MS
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search